Doug DeCinces slammed two home runs and Rod Carew raised his unfathomable average to .489 with four hits before departing with a twisted knee tonight as the California Angels won a weird one from the Baltimore Orioles, 16-8.
With California's Ken Forsch and Baltimore's Scott McGregor trying to improve 3-0 records, the forecast for tonight read pitcher's duel. The fifth took both of them, however, and by the time the required 54 outs were completed in 3 hours 31 minutes, Baltimore had filled its quota for the season blooper film.
The Angels, who looked at 208 pitches, raked the four Orioles who threw them for 18 hits, with Juan Beniquez also punching out four, and benefited from 10 walks. Reggie Jackson walked in four consecutive innings as California scored its runs in bunches of 2-3-2-3-2-4.
"This is a very potent offense we have here," said ex-Oriole DeCinces, unable to hide a mischievous smirk as he basked in the American League home run lead, with eight.
For the Orioles, only Ken Singleton's four hits were worthy of remembrance. The rest of the memories the 17,448 fans took home were of disenchantment with the heroes who surrendered first place to Boston in the American League East.
There was an omen of what would follow when Carew, the first batter of the game, lofted a windblown fly to deep right center. Right fielder Dan Ford chased and dropped it. Carew was awarded a triple, which helped his average but quickly proved costly to McGregor's earned-run figure. Tim Foli singled Carew home and, after Beniquez grounded into a double play, DeCinces extended his hitting streak to 11 games with a shot to left.
Carew got another hit of dubious nature in the seventh, when left fielder John Lowenstein slipped chasing his sliced liner and wound up blocking it with his left foot.
Carew left immediately with soreness in his right knee, which was twisted in a collision with Ford in the fourth.
With two out and runners on first and third, Ford grounded up the middle. Second baseman Rick Adams flagged it behind the bag and, with a force in doubt, threw to first. Ford, straining to reach the base, beat the throw and also cut Carew's right foot from under him.
"He kicked me on the heel and I turned my knee," Carew said. "When you're 37 years old, things bother you. But I'll be okay by Friday."
Forsch was his own worst enemy in the second, when he permitted three runs to score after misplaying what should have been an inning-ending double-play grounder by Leo Hernandez. Forsch had trouble pulling the ball from his glove, then made an off-target throw to second.
McGregor, who had won 12 of his last 13 decisions against California, carried a string of 25 innings without a walk into the fourth. He promptly passed the first two batters, Jackson and Brian Downing, and then Hernandez turned up on the other end of a botched double play. Adams' grounder to third went through to left field. That tied the game and Carew's two-run single to center put California ahead to stay.
Both starters departed and the score escalated to 7-5 in the fifth. Sammy Stewart, who faced six batters in relief, needed 38 pitches to retire three while walking three.
Forsch's departure was hastened by an Eddie Murray liner that went right through Adams' hands, a hit.
Stewart and Dave Goltz, Forsch's successor, did not survive the sixth, which was featured by DeCinces' second homer of the game.
California's last run, the fourth of the ninth inning, scored when Hernandez batted Adams' routine grounder with his glove and chased it to second base. Bobby Clark, trying to go from first to third, was nailed for the 27th out.